Category Archives: Casual Fridays

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths at Rotation

With rotation a month away (actually Sept 17, so more like three weeks) we need to look at Ikoria cards and determine what’s going to be worth picking up at their floor. Ikoria was the first set that was released during the pandemic, and it’s possible that the number of copies in circulation is strongly affected as a result. 

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Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

Theros: Beyond Death at Rotation

With rotation just around the corner, it’s time to take stock of a very powerful set and see where the deals are. Ideally we want cards with casual appeal or Eternal demand, and hopefully people will be selling off spare copies when it’s official that they are no longer Standard-legal.

I expect, based on historical trends, that we are near the bottom on these particular cards but I wouldn’t be shocked if they fell a little further over the next month or two. Up to you if you want to buy in now, but I’m comfortable doing so.

Thassa’s Oracle ($9 for the regular nonfoil up to $75 for the Foil Extended Art version) – The most popular card from Theros for Commander, I imagine this is taking a lot of cEDH attention but it’s a solid plan to back up Laboratory Maniac and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. This is registered in more than 32,000 decks online, and is a win condition that resolves even though removal. Counterspells or bust! Jason did an excellent job last week talking about this card, so I’m going to be brief here.

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove ($17 to $77) – The Secret Lair that just ended, with Special Guest: Fiona Staples, had a reprint of this card with some sweet art. That’s being sold for $30ish but won’t be available until October. The announcement of the SL version did absolutely nothing to slow the trajectory of this card:

Not only is this a card with EDH chops (30k decks and counting), it’s also a card present in Amulet Titan and Scapeshift decks in Modern. This will need a serious reprint soon or it’ll be a $40 card. The better deal would have been to get in on these during Ikoria’s draft season, when they could be had for a whole lot less, but the rise is real and it’s definitely time to snag the Commander copies you might need.

Destiny Spinner ($3 to $8) – As an uncommon, this has just the regular and the foil, but the Commander demand for a two-mana, make-your-favorite-spell-type-uncounterable card is VERY real. It’s not just that creatures can’t be countered, but your enchantments too, and that’s an overlap players love. I don’t imagine this gets activated all that often, but this is the whole package and while the reprint risk is real, the foils are a most attractive opportunity.

Calix, Destiny’s Hand ($2 to $5) – You can get the borderless foils for under $5, with random copies reaching to nearly $3. That’s a lot of disrespect for an archetype that gets a lot of support: GW enchantments. Clearly the demand hasn’t been there yet, with Calix not even breaking 5k, but I love this as a buy-low spec. This will end up being one of the first cards players go to with a new deck. 

Setessan Champion ($1.50 to $25) – That FEA price is a real one, reflective of the demand for this card, and this theme, in enchantment-based Commander decks. That’s a huge multiplier, far more than what would be expected, and a clear sign of where the money is going. This is a prime candidate for a Commander deck reprint, when they inevitably do some enchantment theme again, and so I’d stay away from the cheapest copies. 

Over on TCGPlayer, there’s almost no copies of this in FEA or even plain EA, making those where I’d prefer to put my money. The recent spike and the subsequent lack of inventory doesn’t faze me here. The next time a good enchantment general comes along, this will crack $40 and maybe $50.

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath ($14 to $125) – Banned everywhere but Legacy, the casual demand for this card is still very strong, being Cube-worthy and in 8k decks online. Simic is widely known to be the best color combination in Commander, and spells like this are why. It’s a pretty easy thing to do, to use this as a ramp spell and then get your value in a little later. The graph shows us when the bans hit, and hit hard:

We’ve pretty much missed the window for the FEA versions, but the basic ones are a good choice, as are the Kaldheim-style Secret Lair versions that are out there for around $30-$40. Putting them in a Secret Lair so quickly means this is probably safe from reprints for a while, but there’s no guarantees. 

Ox of Agonas ($6 to $30) – The Commander demand isn’t there, but this sees just enough play in Dredge lists for Modern and Legacy that I’m thinking about buying a few copies if the price trickles a little further south. It’s got everything you want for that archetype, and as a mythic, there are that many less copies out there. I’d prefer to have a stack of the basic versions, as compares to the fancier EA and FEA, but you do what works for you.

Nyx Lotus ($4 to $32) – Devotion decks tried real hard in Standard, but never really got there. Commander, though, is where this card shines. More than 15k people have registered this online, and I imagine almost all of them are mono-color decks. Depending on what you’re playing, this might give you a lot of mana, or a boatload of mana. The FEA version was available for around $20 a while ago:

Would be nice if we’d bought in then, but the downward trend is what I like to see. Be patient and when you see the price flatten out, grab your personal copies and a couple of spares.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

Time to Buy Modern Horizons 2

I’ll get back to rotation in a week, but right now, we need to talk about the fact that Modern Horizons 2 is at some impressively low prices. This isn’t about the big name of Ragavan, but more about the casual staples that took a big dive, and see if we want to get in at these prices.

One thing I want to note: Because there’s been an impressively large amount of MH2 opened, a lot of cards have really crashed. We can’t overlook how several of the cards hadn’t been reprinted since the early 2000s, and those prices were more about the scarcity than the demand. We need to keep in mind that while these have potential, none of these are projected to gain quickly.

Patriarch’s Bidding ($1.50) – The nonfoils from Onslaught were up to $60 this summer, but you can get this for under $30 now. The casual appeal is possibly there, but there’s only a bit over five thousand decks on EDHREC that are using it. That’s too few, frankly. This should be in every tribal deck which has black as a color, because while you might give the other players some creatures back, you’re getting everything back.

My only concern with buying in on this card is that with it being so cheap now, it’s a prime candidate for inclusion in a Commander deck in the future. If I knew it would never be printed that way, I’d slam dunk a big stack of these because of the potential for abuse. It hasn’t gotten featured on a Commander video yet, but this is a star in my Zombie and Dragon decks. Plus, buying in so low, it won’t take much to raise this up to profitability.

Sterling Grove ($2.50) – This was as high as $17 for the Invasion version before the reprint, but it’s only down about $5. More than 8k decks have this registered online and we keep getting support for GW as an enchantment color pair. I’d expect this to climb back upwards nicely, but I’m not expecting any sudden gains–just a slow, steady climb right back into the land of profitability.

Riptide Laboratory ($0.50) – The original nonfoil is down to $9, but this is criminally cheap for one of the best enablers around. Once in a while, someone in Modern tosses a copy in their deck in order to maximize Snapcaster Mage shenanigans, but this is a casual card through and through. Given that the card is in a similar number of decks as Bidding, that’s a lot of Wizard tribal decks out there. The presence of a $9 nonfoil, in old border, represents a clear ceiling for the price. If you’re buying in for fifty cents, though, you’re mass buylisting these at $2 in a year to 18 months.

Mirari’s Wake ($5.50) – This is probably the safest bet on this list, as a mythic and because it’s already 22,000 strong on EDHREC. Yes, there’s more than one reprint: Conspiracy, Commander 2017, and a Pro Tour Promo. Plus, there’s a borderless version that has foils under $25. I like getting some borderless foils now, and getting the cheapest versions as well. The borderless foils should appreciate nicely, as the art looks great and only so many people want to shell out $200 for the original pack foil.

That graph, showing me that the card has dropped significantly, tells me that I want to own more than a few copies of the card in question. Casual demand is strong enough hat despite the repeated reprints, it’s rebounded. Get in while it’s cheap.

Ignoble Hierarch ($10) – Noble has gotten a lot of printings, and rebounded until she got three in a year. Plus this Ignoble isn’t a Human, and that’s a big deal. Still, there’s a shortage of mana dorks that have relevance later in the game, and this being the only printing is going to go a long way. The Commander appeal isn’t really present, so I want to get the cheapest version of these, and sell out when someone makes Jund come to life once more.

Kaldra Compleat ($11) – Batterskull’s combination of a reset function, lifelink, and vigilance will probably always ensure that it’s the most popular Stoneforge target, but this is showing up as a secondary choice. This ends the game FAST, being a 5/5 with trample, haste, and indestructible, but it’s terrible on defense, lacking that key vigilance. It’s relatively popular in Commander too, getting put into a lot of decks for only having been available for a couple of months. Go for the cheap versions here too.

Priest of Fell Rites ($0.75) – I’m very fond of this card as a reanimator, something you can use more than once or recur in some way. It’s a great way to reanimate aggressively for something like Archon of Cruelty or Angel of Despair, or just value in Commander. The addition of Unearth to something like this is extra fun, as you can just mill yourself silly. I like picking up a brick of these now for future buylisting.

Scion of Draco ($4) – Given Modern manabases, this is not difficult to have at two mana on turn two, fetchland into Triome and then fetch for a shockland. Sadly, it lacks haste or haste enabling, and while two mana for a 4/4 flyer that gives some bonuses is good, it’s not gamebreaking. Yet. Since this is a mythic, there’s less copies out there, and something that should have nice gains on a long timeline.

Fetchlands: Go get the Modern Horizons copies you need. They have officially reached their lows, and the FEA copies are notably cheaper than the OBF versions. The large amount of copies that have been opened have made their way onto the market and the price is right. If you’ve been patient, it’s time.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

Throne of Eldraine at Rotation

It’s that time of year again, when hope springs eternal and Standard is rotating! Granted, this Standard season is weird because there’s not a lot of in-person play, plus Throne of Eldraine and its successors really overshadowed lots of other cool things to do. 

Whenever it’s rotation season, I like to look at Standard cards for their Eternal (Modern, Pioneer, Legacy) or Casual (Commander and to a lesser extent, Cube) appeal. If it’s seeing play in one of those realms and there’s a lot of copies about to be put on the market, I’m interested. With that in mind, let’s look at some cards!

One thing to keep in mind is that these are cards I like at rotation, when hopefully their prices slide by 10-20%. I’m not advocating you run out and get them now, only that you put these on your radar. I’m listing current prices, and while I’m hopeful that they get cheaper, they are unlikely to get a whole lot cheaper. The pandemic is also a factor, as people might have sold off their Standard decks already, or aren’t bothering to trade/sell the cards they have because there’s nowhere to go play.

There’s more than a few unknowns, but I’m operating with a hope that things come back and this acts like other rotation seasons.

Oko, Thief of Crowns ($14 up to $100ish) – I know, Oko is banned everywhere, but this is a Simic card of undeniable power. This is already the most powerful color combination in Commander, and you’re picking up a premium planeswalker at its lowest price. You’ve either seen it in play, and seen how it wrecks a lot of board states, or you’ll just have to trust me that it’s amazing.

It’s also worth noting that the borderless foil version of Oko is back down to the $100 range. In fact, there’s one all the way down at $90. Oko is unlikely to get banned in Commander, so put that fear aside. Given the wide range of bans it’s already suffered, reprints are pretty unlikely unless they go for Secret Lair: Format Warpers or something like that. I don’t think it’ll slide all the way to $10, but this is a card with a lot of potential and a very good pedigree.

EA and FEA Castles ($1.50 up to $20+) I don’t like buying the regular versions of any of the five Castles, but the Extended Art versions are a good pickup, in regular or foil. Sure, they were available for cheaper last year when supply was at max, but they are all played in enough decks and have such a low drawback that they are worth it. I’m bigger on the nonfoils here, because I think they have more room to grow, but as people sell off their manabases, I want to be there to hand them cash.

Syr Konrad, the Grim ($1 to $4) – Brace yourself, as this card is in more Commander decks online than The Great Henge. There’s no Standard play for this Knight-who-I-always-think-is-a-Zombie, but clearly, there’s a demand for the uncommon. 

On TCG, it doesn’t take a whole lot of copies to sell before you’re looking at $7, and then your next plateau is $10. Now’s the time to get a few for a later double-up.

Fabled Passage ($6 up to $40) – Given the large number of old-border foils being handed out at your friendly LGS, that’s the version I want most. It looks great and the pedigree is real: nearly 70k decks online with this also being the only option for a fetchland in Pioneer. I think you should pick up the cheapest NM versions you can find, anything under $8 feels right to me. 

It’s notable that the FEA versions, both the Eldraine and the Core Set printings, have never really stopped tumbling and can be had for a whole lot less now than early on. Picking up a sweet version of a mega-staple at its lowest price can’t really be wrong, can it?

Drown in the Loch ($3 to $8 or $20) – Seeing play as a 2-4 of with Ragavan and DRC in Modern Grixis decks, this has a lot of potential. Rogues is a top-tier deck in Standard, and this is one of the key pieces. I expect the nonfoils to drop a little as people sell off what they can, but a complicating factor here is the Secret Lair drop from April, which should be arriving in late August. There’s a Mystical Archive version of DitL and that one is preselling for nearly $20 right now. We will see what demand is like when the cards arrive, but being a good card in a very popular deck is often a formula for big paydays. I’d stay away from the pack foils, as the SL version will likely soak up a lot of attention. Buy the cheapest copies when they hit the floor.

Ayara, First of Locthwain ($3 up to $27) – Another card in 13k decks online, Ayara is not going to go away from dedicated black decks. There’s no Eternal appeal here, and not a lot of cubes have this sort of mono-black devotion. I will say, the Historic deck that chains Ayara into Obliterator into Gray Merchant is a whole lot of fun to play! The basic nonfoil has crept upward this past year, meaning that the casual demand is real. Ayara’s mana cost meant she wasn’t used in any of the sacrifice-themed decks, and if she trends down a little, there’s definitely some long-term profit to be had.

Torbran, Thane of Red Fell ($1 up to $35) – Mono-red is rotating and he’s in 13k decks on EDHREC. The EA and FEA versions have a higher price already, and I’m looking to buy in when they dip lower. No one is going to be selling FEA versions at rotation, but these regular copies should go a bit lower and then be a very appealing target for buying a brick into buylisting a brick. There’s some risk of reprint in a Commander deck–this is exactly the sort of card one would put into a precon–but that risk is baked into lots of things now.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.